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Family ‘lucky’ to be alive after strong winds destroy motorhome

A family touring Scotland’s North Coast 500 route are said to be “lucky to be alive” after their hired motorhome was blown down a hill by storm winds.

Pictures show sheer devastation after the rented vehicle rolled several times – with the family of four and two dogs still inside.

The family, reported to be from Oxford, had stopped in a layby on the A896 near Shieldaig, Wester Ross, during Storm Kathleen’s high winds last Sunday.

Police attended and found them alive but with severe bruising.

Peter Schmidt, owner of Luna motorhome hire, said he was shocked after receiving photos of the scene.

Mr Schmidt said when the family contacted him to report the damage he had no idea how bad the accident was.

He said: “They were calling to say the van has been written off. I asked for photos and that was the point where my heart sank.

“The fact that everyone – the couple, the children and the dogs – are okay and come out alive is amazing

“Everyone I’ve shared the photos with assumed they were dead. They’re lucky to be alive.”

The 516-mile (830km) North Cost 500 has seen a boom in popularity in recent years following the pandemic as families turn to “staycations”.

The official website for the route – which circles the Scottish Highland coastline from Inverness Castle – warns drivers of the “challenging” conditions on single track country roads.

Mr Schmidt said the accident has made him think how he can better prepare customers the route.

He said: “People need to be aware, especially if they’re not an experienced motorhome driver.

“The NC500 is tricky, from the roads to the weather conditions and generally most drivers there are tourists.

“It’s not the same weather as in England, it’s completely different.

“I think we need to be a bit more mindful of telling them this is not going to be easy.”

Storm Kathleen brought disruption to travel across Scotland last weekend, with winds of up to 90mph recorded in places.

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